Life insurance coverage corporations caught keeping billions: Are you owed funds?

Georgia households have recovered almost $200 million since the state signed onto settlements with two dozen insurance coverage providers that had previously failed to pay beneficiaries who have been unaware of their loved ones' policies.

But a Channel 2 Action News investigation located some other states carrying out a significantly greater job at having that dollars into the hands of its rightful owners.

"I feel all of the states must be the identical. For the insurance coverage organizations, it shouldn't matter what state you live in, for those who reside in Georgia, California, Colorado, wherever," mentioned Donna Delzingaro, who together with her sisters recovered $122,000 they did not know existed.

"Isn't that astounding? It is boggling isn't it? It really is like winning the lottery," stated Delzingaro and her sister Barbara Smith, who each reside in Florida.

Their father passed away in 1990, leaving behind an unknown life insurance policy he'd purchased through his firm.

"We had 3 or four personal policies that we had collected on. We believed it was completed," said Smith.

But then Delzingaro got a surprise phone contact from the state of Florida.

"She stated, 'I have located an insurance policy from your father that goes back, and it's for $122,000.'" recalls Delzingaro, "So I am thinking, 'Oh, OK this can be a scam.'"
But the genuine scam was that the insurance enterprise had been holding onto the sisters' revenue for additional than 20 years without having looking for them.

An industry-wide audit located systemic troubles, with companies failing to spend beneficiaries, who didn't know to file a claim.

"It's incredibly disheartening mainly because folks would not even consider to search for this, and I consider that they realize that," Smith mentioned.

The customer group Georgia Watch calls the insurance coverage companies' behavior outrageous.

"You ought to be capable to possess some sense of trust in any firm in which you do enterprise with," mentioned Georgia Watch director Liz Coyle.

Florida led the investigation and eventually settled with two dozen with the nation's biggest life insurance coverage firms.

Now they're required to verify all of their policies against a federal list of people today who've died, and to make an effort to come across their beneficiaries.

Nationwide, these firms have had to spend out more than $6 billion to households for previously unclaimed policies.

If they can't come across the beneficiary, the policy is turned over for the state's unclaimed property fund.

"I believe getting it visit the unclaimed property account does only one particular factor, which is to take away a number of the incentive the insurance corporation has to not come across the beneficiaries," said Coyle.

So far, 9,577 Georgians have recovered nearly $191,783,413 straight from the insurance coverage business settlements.

But Georgia's Department of Income, which maintains the unclaimed property fund, was unable to decide how lots of policies have already been turned more than, or just how much those are worth.

Smith said, "It's a fantastic very first step, but what fantastic is it if you usually are not going to tell those that it is there?"

Florida does.

Our neighbors towards the south have a group of workers committed to tracking down and contacting the beneficiaries.

But in Georgia, the cash just sits there along with your name on it, unless you happen to verify the state internet site and claim it yourself.

"I would hope that the state legislators in Georgia would check out that and see if there's some strength and a few teeth they could add to what we've got," mentioned Coyle.

Channel two Investigative Reporter Jodie Fleischer asked Insurance coverage Commissioner Ralph Hudgens why Georgia hasn't accomplished as considerably as Florida has to obtain the money to its rightful owner.

"We did not launch our own person investigation," stated Hudgens. "Nobody approached me with this due to the fact I absolutely would have agreed to complete it. But, why we did not, I can't inform you."

Plus, Georgia's new law which covers companies that refused to settle, only demands them to turn over unclaimed policies written just after Jan. 1, 2015. Florida's law goes back to 1992.

"We undoubtedly would advocate to the Legislature that they make modifications," mentioned Hudgens.

He pointed out that the insurance businesses that settled have paid Georgia nearly $4 million in fines for their poor behavior, that is just a fraction from the national amount.

"It's kind of like, we've got your revenue and odds are that you are by no means going to have it," mentioned Smith, "It's truly a big scam for me."

Most of the victims in this scenario don't even know they're victims. If they had known concerning the life insurance revenue, they would probably have claimed it.

Georgia Watch recommends speaking together with your loved ones members ahead of time about policies they've and where to find them.

Also you must consistently search the state's unclaimed home site for everywhere you've ever lived.

The sisters want all states would take into consideration how important that cash may be for households. They commend Florida for going above and beyond to find them.

"I was genuinely feeling blessed, since it came at a actually opportune time for all three of us. It was just like revenue from my parents, like they knew," said Delzingaro.

Her sister added, "I assume any state must be doing the same factor. It's not the states' revenue. It belongs to rightful heirs."
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